Rise in county’s council tax proposed to balance books

Lee Colyer

COUNCIL tax could rise by 1.99 per cent as County Hall seeks to save £64million this year.

Residents have now been offered the chance to take part in a six-week consultation as Kent County Council [KCC] tries to decide how it can find extra savings from a budget of

A spokesman for the council said KCC is considering raising council tax by 1.99 per cent as an option to bring in £6million a year. For most residents that would represent a rise
of £20.88 per annum.

In addition, the council is proposing to add the 2 per cent social care precept introduced by central government last year. This will produce £20.96.

Ahead of central government’s annual budget announcement at the end of November, the consultation will ask the county’s residents if they agree with KCC’s proposals.

Conservative councillor Paul Carter, the authority’s leader, has already appealed to his party’s ministers to ease financial pressures.

In launching the consultation, which can be accessed online, he warned ‘big decisions’ need to be made after previously stating frontline services could be cut.

“The difficult decisions we make in next year’s budget will affect everyone in Kent,” he said.

“That’s why it is important that as many residents as possible take part in this year’s consultation.”

Councillor John Simmonds, portfolio holder for finance, said the county council is prioritising social care but also will make sure potholes get repaired and waste is
disposed of.

“Hopefully people will appreciate this is a small price to pay,” he said of the potential rise in council tax.

“Local government has been singled out to make far more savings than other parts of the
economy, including central government, who have not been as zealous.”

Details of the consultation and how to take part can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/budget
Or call 03000 421553 to request a different format

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